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A Mariner’s Life for Me

by Eva Seelye

The Hawaiian ChieftainIf you’ve long dreamt of a life at sea where you can learn the mariner trade and live by the ocean breeze, then you won’t want to miss Sea School Northwest’s unique program. The school hopes to change the face of the maritime industry through education, mentorship, community, and skill development by providing entry-level maritime training to adults 18 and older during an eight-week, at-sea training period, and their next stop is to our very own state capital, Olympia, Washington. Assistant Director Caitlin Stanton explains, “Joining Sea School Northwest means you will leave home, join the crew of a ship, and become a mariner.” The benefits following this course are immense. Stanton continues, “If you complete the program, you’ll get a foot in the door to an amazing, high-wage, growing job market.”

If you’re intrigued, adjust your heading to Olympia’s Port Plaza where the Hawaiian Chieftain is docked – the training vessel and a West Coast regular – to the Double Tree Hotel’s Capital Room to venture into the minds of a working mariners at the free Industry Panel Discussion on Saturday, September 1 from 1100 to 1300 hours. Learn about job opportunities in the industry, what to expect while at sea, ask questions, and take it all in. To give you a little taste of the coursework during your time at sea, the program’s onboard licensed Sea School officer will guide potential students through the five SSNW training focuses: USCG Licensing Preparation, Hands On Skills, Marine Systems Training, Professional Development, and Industry Discussion. If you’re sold on the idea, you could be in deck shoes just a short eight weeks from now. Curious where you’ll be spending those educational weeks? The Hawaiian Chieftain will be open for tours from 1000 to 1300 hours so you can get a taste of life on (or below) deck of your educational vessel.

Program Director Hali Boyd is “thrilled to be offering the Olympia community these events.” She explains, “We’ll be putting on a very informative, useful event for people who are interested in these jobs.” Sea School Northwest is such an exciting opportunity for Olympians; it’s bringing maritime back to a port city that was once a maritime hub. Scholarship opportunities are also available for those interested in taking the leap.

If you’re more interested in the historic Hawaiian Chieftain than a life at sea, both the Chieftain and Lady Washington – Washington’s official state ship – will be participating in the annual Olympia Harbor Days from August 29 through September 4. Choose to embark on a two- or three-hour sailing excursion, take a tour of the vessel itself, and visit its on-board gift shop if you so desire. For more information on these historic vessels and their Olympia Harbor Days schedules, visit historicalseaport.com. If you’re ready to jump aboard and sail into the horizon as a mariner, check out seaschoolnw.org.

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